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Exploring Burren mysteries by bike

A NORTH Clare man is introducing tourists to the mysteries of the Burren. Enda McGuane, founder of West Coast Cycle Tours, explained how visits from friends inspired his flagship tour, the Wild Atlantic Day. “I got a bike about seven or eight years ago on the Bike to Work Scheme and am living in Kilnamona so I’m close to the Burren and the coast, so I came up with this from cycling around on my own and with my friends and seeing what was out there that was good to do. When my friends from outside the county or from college would come up to visit, I’d take them to these places,” he said. “The one thing about cycling here is that it is not as safe in Ireland as it is on the continent but we have tried to pick the most scenic and safe routes. The Western Greenway and the West Clare Railway are great starts in providing …

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Iconic sporting moment immortalised in airport sculpture

A moment which represents an iconic day when sport transcended politics – the 2007 victory for Ireland in an unforgettable rugby clash with England in Croke Park – will be unveiled in a stunning sculpture at Shannon Airport on Friday. The 6 metre piece, titled ‘The day That Changed Ireland’ , captures a famous Irish line-out that saw rugby legend Paul O’Connell, raised by teammates John Hayes and Donncha O’Callaghan, in the second half of the treasured game and will stand in the airport terminal building for future generations to savour. The sculpture is a representation of a photograph by Irish Times photographer Cyril Byrne, an image that has already been captured in an official An Post stamp. The 2007 game stands out as one of the great Irish moments of the new millennium, marking a symbolic new chapter in Anglo-Irish relations as Ireland and England met for the first time in any sport at the home of GAA. The …

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Killaloe nurse off to top American cancer centre

Killaloe nurse Charlotte Gleeson will travel to New York later this year to observe practice at one of the world’s top cancer centres. Charlotte, (33), who works at University Hospital Limerick, is off to the world-renowned Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan for a week’s clinical observation in October after winning the inaugural Sheila Clarke Travel Bursary at the annual conference of the Irish Association for Nurses in Oncology (IANO). The award is worth €2,000 and is named in honour of the late Sheila Clarke, a pioneer in the development of cancer nursing as a specialty in Ireland and a former president of the IANO. Charlotte was nominated for the Innovation in Clinical Practice Award by her clinical nurse manager Cathleen Osborne and by Catherine Hand, nurse services manager, cancer services, University Hospital Limerick. The award recognises not just Charlotte’s excellent care but also the manner in which she has driven innovation in clinical practice for the benefit of …

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The Cliffs still popular with the tourists

The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience in Liscannor was the country’s second most popular destination with tourists as nearly 1.1million people visited the North Clare attraction last year. Figures released by Fáilte Ireland show that the Cliffs of Moher centre was second only to Guinness Storehouse in Dublin which pulled in 1,269,371 visitors.  The Liscannor attraction leapfrogged Dublin Zoo as the country’s second most popular destination. Bunratty Castle is the country’s 11th most popular paid tourist attraction with 295,000 people passing through its gates  while Ailwee Cave and Birds of Prey Centre in Ballyvaughan visited by 120,000 paying customers. Minister of State for Transport, Tourism & Sport Michael Ring acknowledge, “Our great variety of attractions, whether free or fee-paying, is an important part of our allure to visitors and add to the positive experience enjoyed by tourists here. Over the last few years, this Government has invested significantly in new and existing attractions and is committed to ensuring our attractions …

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East meets West in The Banner County

Eleven Chinese tour operators visited Co Clare during the past week where they experienced first-hand some of the many things to see and do in The Banner County. They were guests of Tourism Ireland. They took the ferry from Tarbert to Killimer and continued to Kilkee, where they enjoyed lunch at The Strand Bistrot. Then it was on to the Cliffs of Moher and Bunratty Castle & Folk Park. Amanda Burns, Tourism Ireland’s manager Asia, said: “China is an important emerging travel market and one that Tourism Ireland is committed to growing over the coming years. Working with Chinese tour operators and travel agents is an important part of our annual promotional programme. “The aim of this week’s fact-finding visit is to increase awareness of Clare and Ireland among these influential travel professionals, to help secure a greater share of the 3+ million Chinese visitors who travel to Europe each year. Tourism Ireland aims to grow the number of Chinese visitors …

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Tapping into global teaching

MILTOWN Malbay on Willie Clancy week resonates with varied accents, strains of traditional music and rapid weather alterations. On Monday afternoon, the main street in the West Clare town teemed with people, while inside the open doors of the public houses, music wafted towards the open air. At Hennessy Memorial Park, the pavilion resounded with set dancers pounding the afternoon into evening, while even the old dressing room building was packed with students and tutors. Kieran Jordan, who is from Philadelphia but has lived in Boston for more than 20 years, was one of the teachers, along with Kevin Doyle from Rhode Island. While leg and soft muscle injuries are more associated with sport, Kieran has been on the treatment table a fair bit herself. She counts torn hamstrings, a torn ligament in her foot and a torn hip cartilage as amongst the strains and knocks she has encountered while dancing or teaching it. “It makes you reflect and say …

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Kilrush housing motion off the agenda

INDEPENDENT Kilrush councillor Ian Lynch has expressed his “dismay” that a motion he had forwarded for debate at next Monday’s county council meeting has been rejected and will not be on the agenda. Clare County Council has taken legal advice from county solicitor John Shaw, who deemed the motion invalid. Veteran Lissycasey councillor, PJ Kelly, has told The Clare Champion that the rejection of the motion is the first time this has happened in his 42 years on the council. The motion reads: “This county council directs the chief executive of Clare County Council, under section 139 of the Local Government Act 2001, not to proceed with the proposal to purchase houses at Beal an Inbhir, Shanakyle, Kilrush”. The housing estate in question is located on the Shanakyle Road in Kilrush, where Clare County Council has expressed an interest in purchasing approximately a dozen of the houses. Five of the houses are currently being purchased by the council. “I am …

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High radon levels in Ennis home

  A home in Ennis was found to have more than three times the acceptable level for radon gas, the equivalent to receiving two chest x-rays a day, according to figures revealed by the EPA’s Office of Radiological Protection. The details emerged as the EPA raised concerns about the low rate of testing for the cancer-causing gas in Clare. The figures show that in the first six months of 2015, three homes in Ennis and one in Doolin tested above the acceptable level of 200 becquerels per cubic metre (Bq/m3), with one home in Ennis measuring levels of 620Bq/m3. However, according to the EPA, the rate of testing in Clare is very low, with only 26 homes having been tested for radon in the first six months of 2015. A total of 4,301 homes have been tested in Clare to date and, of these, 538 tested above 200 Bq/m3. Commenting on the latest findings from the county, Stephanie Long, senior scientist with the …

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